DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything with relevance to Alice in Wonderland whether it is Lewis Carroll or Tim Burton's imaginings. The only thing I own here is this computer I'm typing on…
Summary: The Hatter decides to join Alice on her adventures in the Aboveworld, eager to make her come back to Underland.
Alice felt the Jabberwocky blood slide down her throat. Immediately she knew it was no hoax. Finally, she would be going back to her world…but why did it feel like it was wrong?
The Mad Hatter slowly took a step back as Alice felt herself leaving.
"I promise I won't forget you, Hatter." Alice smiled weakly.
She saw him nod, but then he wouldn't meet her eyes. He took off his hat in one last salute.
"Fairfarren Alice. Or perhaps…it's goodbye." He murmured, and finally looked up to meet her eyes.
But all he could see was one outstretched hand towards him. He suddenly snapped out of his depression and reached for it in a panic – but as he leapt forward to grasp it, the hand disappeared entirely…leaving only just a glass vial as the evidence of Alice's being.
The Hatter fell forwards as he lost his balance. He landed within reach of the vial and he slowly stroked it.
"Why do you leave me every time…why?"
Alice bolted up right.
The cabin boy was at the foot of the bed, staring at her in shock.
"What? What's wrong?" Alice demanded, a heavy blush appearing on her pale stricken face.
The cabin boy looked uncomfortable. "N-Nothing, captain. The crew thought you might like to be awoken before we reach the shore."
Alice nodded, thanking him. She began to get up but paused as he stopped in the doorway.
"And, uh," the cabin boy pointed to his eyes. "You might…well…"
Alice brought a hand to her face and her blush deepened. "Oh."
The cabin boy nodded before he left, shutting the heavy door behind him.
Alice crossed the room and splashed water onto her face, washing the salt away. She wiped her face on a soft towel before staring into the mirror. Her eyes were red and her blonde hair was frizzy. She sighed.
"What a good welcoming back to England."
Alice felt a little alive being back in her home time after three years. Leaving for China when she was nineteen, experiencing such a different culture for three years, reaping the benefits of a clean start, before returning back to her home, a confident twenty one year old woman.
She passed her farewells on to the crew, many of them so close to her that she almost shed a tear. They wished her luck, and then went to welcome (and test) their new captain.
"Miss Kingsley, this way!"
Alice turned to find the voice. Her mouth curled into a smile as she saw Lord Ascot hurrying towards her. He motioned to the two strapping young boys beside him to pick up a suitcase each.
"Miss," The younger one grinned and took the blue suitcase from her hand.
The older one said nothing, but winked as he took the pink suitcase from her other hand.
"Boys." Alice greeted them warmly. "I hope Lord Ascot has been treating you well."
"Ay, it's hard work miss." The older one spoke, rubbing his back, but grinning mischievously.
Lord Ascot let out a laugh as he slapped the boy on the back of his head lightly. He stepped forward and shook Alice's hand formally.
"I believe the trades went well in China?"
Alice nodded. "Splendidly. It's all set up for Mr Wiltshire."
Lord Ascot clapped his hands together eagerly. "Excellent, excellent. Well, this way then. I believe your mother is waiting with a visitor."
Alice's eyes sparkled. "Oh?"
"Yes." Lord Ascot smiled secretly, "But he wished to remain anonymous for some reason. Funny folk, hmm?"
"Oh yes," Alice smiled, "The strangest."
When she was seated in the carriage, listening to Lord Ascot's news, for the first time in three years, she relaxed and smiled genuinely.
She was going home.
"Continue on inside, m'dear." Lord Ascot urged, "Wouldn't want to keep your mother waiting, bless her soul."
Alice raised an eyebrow at the grinning boys. "What am I missing?"
But, as one, they all turned from her and busied themselves with her luggage.
Carefully, Alice continued on inside, lifting her skirts as she climbed up the stone stairs. A servant opened the door for her.
"Your mother and the visitor are within the parlour, Miss Kingsley."
Alice nodded thanks, then glanced around quickly. She leaned closer to the servant and whispered, "Who is the visitor?"
The servant just smiled secretly. "I'm not allowed to tell you that, ma'am."
Alice stood up straight and nodded. "Seems it's a very well kept secret." She muttered, becoming slightly annoyed.
The servant giggled and rushed away.
Alice continued on through the house until she came to the parlour doors. The doormen on either side chuckled as they saw her confused expression.
"Announcing Miss Alice's return." One called imperiously.
And the doors opened.
Alice gasped, her hands flying to her mouth in shock.
A/N: First Chapter - how is it? I know it's short, and the next one will be too, but I'm posting as I'm writing, so I'll try to make them longer in the next chapters. Thanks for reading, please review :)